Congratulations, Mrs. President
Someday the United States will catch up:
Finland's President Tarja Halonen won re-election today as voters rewarded her down-to-earth touch and promises to preserve the welfare state.
Left-leaning Ms Halonen, the Nordic country's first woman president, won a narrow victory over moderate rightist challenger Sauli Niinisto, who kissed her hand and conceded defeat.
"The best thing was that there was a huge amount of people involved, supporting Sauli Niinisto and supporting me," Mr Halonen told Finnish broadcaster MTV3.
Official results showed she won 51.8 per cent of the vote with nearly all ballots counted.
"Politics has made a comeback," said Ms Halonen, who was backed by the Social Democratic Party and leftist and labour groups for a second and final six-year term.
Social Democrats have held the presidency since 1982 in Finland, which was the first country to grant women the right to stand for political office a century ago.
Ms Halonen's presidency has coincided with a good period for the economy.
Home to giant mobile phone maker Nokia, it ranks among the most competitive since recovering from a deep slump after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a major trading partner.